The Mountain of the Lord

‘No, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the Living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to countless thousands of angels in joyful gathering. You have come to the assembly of God’s firstborn children, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God Himself, who is judge over all things… you have come to Jesus, the One who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks of forgiveness instead of crying out for vengeance like the blood of Abel.’ Hebrews 12:22-24 NLT

We live in the highest town in England. Its a town contained in a bowl surrounded by hills. The loftiness of our town means we often have strange weather conditions. Rain, snow, wind … and more recently, boiling hot weather! Nice! We are by no means up a mountain but sometimes it feels like it!

The scriptures often talk about the mountain of the Lord. ‘Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?’ ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord.’

Moses received the law of the Lord on Mount Sinai. The law, or Torah, is the ‘word’ of God. The words handed down to the Jewish nation to show them the way in which a holy God expected them to live… As soon as Moses returned to the people, he found them worshipping a golden calf – created by the High Priest Aaron! – and, as the 10 Commandments movie highlighted in such dramatic action, they were also caught committing other atrocities.

Let’s jump forward a bit further into Mark’s gospel (ch. 9)… Jesus and His three closest disciples are up a mountain to pray. Elijah (the prophet) and Moses (the Law keeper) appear. There is talk of camping by Peter. Suddenly,  Jesus is transfigured (reveals His true heavenly beauty). The disciples fall with their faces to the ground and they hear a voice ‘This is my dearly loved Son. Listen to Him!’

It is recorded in all three of the synoptic gospels ‘… and they saw only Jesus.’ The law and the prophets had gone. BUT Jesus, the true Word of God, was remaining with them.

Not a demanding law-keeper but a grace-filled Saviour.

As Jesus heads down the mountain he doesn’t find law breakers, he finds legalists… arguing. As usual. They are arguing about deliverance, or the lack of…

The crowds, unlike when Moses came down the mountain and they told him to cover his face, saw Jesus and ran towards him… astonished that He had come. The ordinary folk,  having spent hundreds of years under the tyrannical, hypocritical leadership of the legalists, ran towards the presence of God they saw in Jesus.

A hill of transfiguration had become a Mountain of the Lord and the true Torah of God, Jesus, spreading the perfume of God’s presence, drew the people towards grace and truth. As it says in the verses above, ‘we have come to Mount Zion… to Jesus, the One who mediates a New Covenant.’

Because of the New Covenant, our experience of the Father’s Presence, needn’t be like the mountain of doom or the arena of arguing legalists, but a place where our hearts are transformed by the true beauty and glory of the Presence of the Risen One. We now live with our hearts in Mount Zion. The place where God’s glory is revealed.

God bless you

Oliver

 

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